Amnesty International has called on the Al Khalifa regime in Bahrain to release former opposition lawmaker Khalil al-Marzooq.
“Khalil al-Marzooq is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned only for his vehement criticism of the government,” Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director Hassiba Hadj said in a statement on Wednesday.
“He must be immediately and unconditionally released.”
Marzooq was summoned to court and charged with inciting terrorism during a speech he made last week.
Head of Bahrain’s public prosecution, Nayef Yousif, has accused Marzouk of instigating violence and having links to a group authorities blamed for bombings and other attacks. He also said Marzooq is under investigation and will be held for 30 days.
Marzooq served as deputy speaker in Bahrain’s 40-member parliament before a walkout was staged in 2011 by 18 members of al-Wefaq in protest against the violent crackdown on anti-regime demonstrators.
On September 18, al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s main opposition group, boycotted national reconciliation talks in protest against the detention of Marzooq.
The Bahraini uprising began in mid-February 2011.
Protesters initially called for political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.